Posts Tagged West Bank
Israeli arms companies are quick to point out their close association with the Israeli military, and the fact that many of their key development staff are active members of the military. Since much of the effort of the military has been the occupation of the West Bank and Golan Heights, and the blockade and attacks on Gaza, it follows that many of these staff have been integrally involved in the brutal occupation of the West Bank, and many of Israel’s incursions into Gaza and Lebanon.
Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest drones manufacturer and the world’s largest drone exporter. Elbit’s Chief Financial Officer, Joseph Gasper, was recently interviewed by Financial Times, claiming that Elbit’s employees with active involvement in the Israeli military gave it “quick feedback” on whether those systems were working and whether they needed addressing. Elbit is a part of the Israeli military, and the Israeli occupation is a testing ground and feedback mechanism for the development arm of the Israeli arms industry.
In a country where military, government, and arms company roles are a virtual revolving door, it is not hard to imagine that there are strong finanical incentives to suggest military solutions to political problems. Elbit Systems not only profits from sales to the Israeli military and occupation forces, it uses the “combat proven” experience it gains from attacks on Gaza dn the surveillance of the West Bank to promote arms sales worldwide.
There were protests this week at the Lichfield site of UAV Engines, the Israeli owned company that manufactures engines for a variety of drones, including the much delayed Watchkeeper drone.
Watchkeeper is a joint venture between Elbit Systems of Israel, and Thales, a French arms company. UAV Engines, of Lichfield (known as UEL) is a subsidiary of Elbit. Engines from this plant are apparently also used in the Hermes drone, which was used in the attack on Gaza recently, and in other aspects of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Israeli sources periodically deny this, but at other times appear to confirm that the motor made in Lichfield is indeed used in the ubiquitous Hermes 450.
The British Watchkeeper drone is based on the Hermes 450.
Barclays Global is listed as the second largest shareholder in Elbit Systems Ltd of Israel, with 91,588,921 shares out of 1,298, 178,734 total shares. Barclays holds about 6 and a half percent of all Elbit shares.
Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest arms manufacturer, exporting drones and other arms items to countries around the world. It is also a supplier to the Israeli military, including the occupation forces that control the West Bank.
Barclays Bank has more than £7 billion invested in the global arms industry, more than any other UK bank. This is despite having a corporate social responsibility policy that prohibits exports that are used by foreign authorities either to oppress their own populations or to support unjustified external aggression. Barclays’ involvement in Israeli companies dealing with the Israeli military would be enough to delegitimise their claim to follow their own corporate responsibility policy.
For a scathing account of the involvement of British bank in the arms industry, download ‘Banking on Bloodshed’, a report produced in 2008 by the British charity War on Want.
Elbit’s Brazilian arm is Aeroelectronica Industria de Componentes Avionicos SA. , or AEL. It’s main contract is the modernisation of Brazil’s F-5 aircraft, and electronics for Brazil’s new AL-X aircraft. Additional info. It is a relatively small company, but Elbit CEO Yossi Ackerman claims to be involved with projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the military (including drones) and space industries in Brazil.
Elbit has made most of it’s money in Brazil in a joint venture with Brazilian Embraer, upgrading the F-5’s and providing electronics for the AL-X.
Elbit now claims to be in a good place to win contracts to build drones for the Brazilian military, given that it has local manufacturing facilities, and has been transferring Israeli drone technology to workers in its company in Brazil.
Elbit has also won a contract to provide the Brazilian military with ‘unmanned turrets’ for military vehicles, designed to by used in ‘asymetric warfare’. In other words terrorism, guerrilla warfare, or civil disobedience. Given that warfare isn’t a high risk in Brazil, the turrets would likely be used to quell civil disobedience or riots. In the Brazilian situation, I believe that ‘asymetric warfare’ is a code word for ‘riots’. Elbit already supplies the turret to the Belgians.
These unmanned turrets appear to be remotely controlled turrets capable of firing cannons, machine guns, grenade launchers (presumably smoke or tear gas), and with sophisticated electronics for seeing and following targets.